Average Tender Win Rates – How Do You Compare? And 12 Ways Of Improving Your Win Rates

Firstly thanks to everyone who anonymously volunteered their numbers in our recent survey.

This article gives you the full results, but then goes on to look at what difference it can make when your win rates and margins improve. But more importantly, you will also see outlined 12 areas to look at which can boost your averages.

Beforehand though, let’s look at the survey results: 

Tender Win Rate Chart


Tender Win Rate Chart2




















  • The average number of tenders submitted was 248
  • The average number of wins was 71
  • The average tender win rate was therefore 28.6%

Within those numbers were some extremes.

  • Highest number of annual tenders submitted was 983
  • Highest number of wins was 320 (out of 800 submitted)

The lowest win rate was 10%. The highest win rate winning 40 out of 48 at a rate of 83.3% was someone from M&E.


So Why Is Your Win Rate Important?

Later in this article, you can download a spreadsheet which helps you to visually see the difference it makes to your specific situation. Suffice it to say, a moderate increase in your win rate can translate into a substantial bottom-line difference when you extrapolate it over a year.

Using the average, 71 wins out of 248, let’s look at what a small, moderate or substantial increase in your win percentage will do.

Assuming your average contract value is £100,000, and your margin is 15% or £15,000 per win, here’s what happens:

Small Increase Moderate Increase Substantial Increase
(5% more wins) (10% more wins) (20% more wins)
Total Wins                  83                     96                   121
Extra Turnover  £          1,240,000.00  £          2,480,000.00  £             4,960,000.00
Extra Profit  £             186,000.00  £             372,000.00  £                744,000.00

You can find out your own specific numbers by downloading our  Tender Improvement Analysis Tool and adding in the number you submit, you win, your average value, and margin. Play around with the figures to see what a difference a small change can make.

Turnover Is Vanity, Profit Is Sanity

But we all know the dangers of over-trading or being busy fools to keep things ticking over. So what difference would it make if you bid for and won more higher margin tenders?

By combining together an improved tender win rate with improvements in margin, the effect can be exponential, so let’s add in 1%, 2.5% and 5% improvements to your margin to see what the combined difference is:

Small Increase Moderate Increase Substantial Increase
(5% more wins) (10% more wins) (20% more wins)
Total Wins                   83                    96                     121
Extra Turnover  £           1,240,000.00  £           2,480,000.00  £              4,960,000.00
Extra Profit  £              186,000.00  £              372,000.00  £                 744,000.00
Profit with 1% increase in margin  £              269,400.00  £              467,800.00  £                 864,600.00
Profit with 2.5% increase in margin  £              394,500.00  £              611,500.00  £              1,045,500.00
Profit with 5% increase in margin  £              603,000.00  £              851,000.00  £              1,347,000.00


How Can You Improve Your Win Rate And Margins

Improving your win rate by just a few percent may seem trivial, but how the hell can you do it?  Soon we will outline 12 ways you can make your tenders much more attractive and appealing.

However alone, each of them may not make a substantial difference, but what about doing them all together?

After all, if you did, and it made a 5% difference to your win rate, you can add another £200,000 plus to your bottom line (if your average contract rates and margins are anything like the above examples).

But what about your margins? That’s something else you can try. In a recent survey, we discovered that price is by no means the biggest factor in a tender decision. So if by taking these actions your win rate improves, why not try increasing your margins?

And when you are feeling more confident after a win-rate increase, why not try tendering in different fields where the margins are higher and you may now be marketable where before you rarely won?

But First, Let’s Talk About Apple Pie

appliepieImagine alone, each of the following methods for improving your win rate delivered a 5% increase to the “attractiveness” of your tender. That makes you 60% more attractive if you simply add the differences up.

However, one plus one often equals three. That’s because when you combine one or more things together, their qualities change so they are equal to more than the sum of their constituent parts.

Take apple pie. Alone, it’s quite tasty. And custard. Okay, you could eat custard on its own, and it would taste absolutely fine. But when you combine them, the taste and sensation becomes something completely different, and the combination creates an experience that has something extra.

That’s why it’s worth considering the bigger picture. When you take 12 actions together, their impact becomes much more than the simple result of 60% better if each of them makes a 5% difference.

And of course if your tenders are 60%+ more attractive, then you can start to imagine even a modest increase in your win rate.

12 Methods For Improving Your Win Rate And Increasing Your Margins

1. Award Submissions. Consider national construction awards. Are you nominating yourself? Submitting a well constructed bid? When you win awards, you get noticed in the trade press. You can also mention it in every tender you submit. Those who assess your tenders read the trade press, but even if they don’t, you can impress within the tender document itself. Is that worth another 5% to your tender attractiveness? If so, are you nominating yourself for the key awards in your sector?

2. Ongoing Critiquing / Tender Document Development. So you decide to tender. You put together your pricing, and then cut and paste the same things you have been submitting for the past 5 years. Why not use a critiquing service from a non-technical copywriter who can improve the phrasing and presentation of your tender documents? Worth an extra 5% to your tender attractiveness?

3. Above And Below The Radar PR. Above the radar PR is articles published in the trade press. These are very useful appendices for your tender, and well as influencing those who see them published. However, below the radar is very similar and has the added benefit that you are not keeping your rivals updated with your activities. Send your news in hard copy to a private circulation list. What difference does it make if the person reading your tender already knows you because they are aware of your activities indirectly through the press, or, because they get your news outside of tendering situations. 5% more attractiveness at the very least.

4. Case Study Portfolio Building. Often, as much as 20% of the scoring in a tender is directly related to your client references and case studies. Yet how often do you see quite dull, factual statements about “what we did”? Getting a professional copywriter to interview your client changes the perspective completely. Instead of “we did…” you get “I experienced…”. In other words your client telling the reader exactly how well you performed. The word of a client is far more compelling than potentially biased statements from yourself. When you are doing this, give yourself an extra 5% brownie points.

5. Database Building. The husband puts the phone down to his daughter studying out of town. He comments to his wife: “We only hear from her when she wants something.”. And that’s what happens with tendering. You only contact them when you are submitting a tender document and you want something. What about the rest of the time? Have you built a database of those you occasionally or frequently submit tenders to? What about those you may wish to submit to in the future but haven’t before done so? Why not build a database so you have the machinery to hand to communicate with them. And then do so. Send your case studies. Send them your e-newsletter. Write an article educating them on a revolutionary new construction method you have successfully used. When you have one and use it, give yourself 5%.

6. Direct Marketing. Maybe moreso in connection with increasing the number of tenders you submit, but why not write and ask to be considered. Sell yourself. Share your successes. And directly request to be considered for future tenders. 5% in the bag.

7. Social Media. Where do your clients hang out outside of work – and increasingly inside of work? LinkedIn for example has numerous professional forums where a conversation about specific construction topics is taking place right now. Are you part of the conversation? Are you actually connected to these forums in the first place? Another 5% perhaps?

8. Headhunting. Are you looking outside of the usual places to find more tender opportunities? Are you finding the specific people that are awarding them? If you are headhunting the people you need to influence, you are one of the few doing so. You are 5% more attractive if you are communicating with these key people when others aren’t.

9. E-Newsletter. Do you have one? What are you saying? This is another form of PR where you can create a private list of people you wish to regularly communicate with. Hire in an expert to produce interesting articles that educate, intrigue and inform those you wish to influence. A 5% pat on the back.

10. Strategic Schmoozing. Are you networking? Attending key exhibitions and industry seminars? Are you tracking the political scene for news which affects construction delivered by politicians at events up and down the country? The audience you seek is out there and you can shake hands with them. 5% more influence if you’ve actually met them? Quite possibly.

11. Referral Marketing. Throwing up after a restaurant meal? You tell everyone. Great bit of nosh last night at the new Mexican on the High Street? You tell practically nobody. But if someone says they’re hungry, you won’t shut up about the spectacular new restaurant on the High Street. People share bad news without asking. Good news tends to be shared situationally. There are dozens of ways of generating referrals rather than waiting for someone to do so. Use an expert to introduce referral marketing into your everyday business. 5% extra.

12. Surveys And Market Intelligence. The switched on among us discovered long ago that surveys are revenue streams rather than costs. By asking people in your target market their opinion on a particular topic, you are promoting yourself too. Very often, the cost and time invested in a survey generates more revenue than it costs. It also confirms your expertise in the subject if you know your stuff and are up to date with current thinking. And the results often surprise you – things change without you noticing! Give yourself 5% if you are doing this.


What Happens When Your Tenders Are 60-100% More Attractive?

Well, your win rate goes up for a start. Price becomes less of an objection too, so soon afterwards your margins can increase too.

And nothing we have suggested is anything to do with estimating and getting the most accurate and competitive tender.

It’s about packaging and influencing to give your tender the strength and value it deserves.

Would You Employ A Marketing Copywriter To Operate A Crane?

crane-crashYou know your stuff. You can price the job. You can also package the core elements of your tenders. But what about databases? Public relations? Producing compelling case studies based upon journalistic client interviews?

It’s like asking a copywriter to operate a crane. They may get the thing turning. And figure out how to lift stuff up. But they may also knock down a few walls along the way.

That’s why it may be a good idea to use a tender marketing specialist.

Why not give us a call? If you want to improve your win rate and increase your bottom line, you can have an entire team do everything we’ve suggested for you.


For more information on this post, please visit the main site or call the main office on 0843 506 5202.

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